The Myth of Jade

Jade – a gemstone of unique symbolic energy, and unique in the myths that surround it. With its beauty and wide-ranging expressiveness, jade has held a special attraction for mankind for some 7,000 years.

For thousands of years, Jade has been treasured in China as the royal gemstone. The character for jade "" resembles a capital I with three lines: the top represents the heavens, the bottom the earth, and the middle is mankind.

The word "yu" () is used in Chinese to call something precious, as in English we use gold.

It has long been revered by Asians as symbol of good luck, good health, and power to resist evil spirit. It is treasured by both the value-conscious, as well as the status conscious.

Jade refers collectively to two different minerals --- Jadeite and Nephrite. The truth is, all jadeite is jade but not all jade is jadeite. Confused? Most people are.

Jadeite and nephrite are totally different minerals.

Despite the fact that the Chinese have had a love affair with jade for the last several thousand years, jadeite does not originate from China. The jade that comes from China, is nephrite, and jadeite, the rarer type of jade, comes from Myanmar.

Today it is jadeite jade that is considered the real jade, commanding prices much higher than nephrite. Myanmar is still the only place in the world that produces the highest quality of jadeite. Most jade of gem value is jadeite Myanmese jade.

The most valuable of all is the "Imperial" jade, and the finest gems are almost transparent with a bright emerald green color.

Jade quality factors

Unlike diamonds, every piece of jade is unique in its color, distribution of color, and translucency.

Color
Color is the most important factor in evaluating jadeite values. The finest colors are pure and penetrating, a vivid hue with no hint of gray that looks intense even from a distance.

Translucency
The highest quality jadeite is semitransparent, a high brightness even in pale green to dark green. Meaning you can read the text through it easily, even if it is dark green. 

Texture
Texture ranges from fine to coarse. The finer the texture the higher the transparency. The highest quality is clear and free of irregularities, such as cloudy patches, black spots, crackles or scratches.

Finish and Size
Polish is important with jadeite because the higher the polish, the better the luster and depth of color. Top jadeite possesses an almost "watery" luster. With top-quality imperial jadeite, slight differences in size can make a large differences in value. With most nephrite, size does not really matter.

Buying jade

When buying jade, the most important and variable aspect is its color. The cleanness, purity of color and degree of translucence are the qualities to take into account, and are usually difficult to value with the naked eye. An even color is most desirable, and when polished it should appear most vitreous, or glassy, even oily.

As mentioned, the desired color depends on the culture. Dark green, almost emerald, and near-white colors are extremely popular and therefore very expensive. Pink and purple, or nearly black, are rare and authentic pieces are difficult to find outside of reputable jewelry sellers.

Please note that a lot of the jade with rare combination color on the market is color enhanced. So before you put a lot of money into that piece, you need to make sure that is its natural color.

Only jadeite with elements of Chromium (Cr++) are considered imperial green jade. They are a deep green in color and very valuable. A paler green is due to the presence of iron (Fe). Those pieces are not considered imperial green jade. They can still be quite valuable, although not as valuable as imperial green jade.

Treatments

The only acceptable treatment method is waxing the jade after the stone has been polished. Surface waxing is considered part of the traditional finishing of jadeite. Some dealers use an A through C treatment system.

  • Type A jadeite has not been treated in any way except surface waxing.
  • Type B jade has been soaked in chemical bleaches and/or acids and impregnated with a clear polymer resin. This results in a significant improvement of transparency and color of the material.
  • Type C jade has been artificially stained or dyed and is not acceptable. 
Collectors should only purchase Type A jade.


The hierarchy of color value of jade would be green, lavender, red, yellow, white and black.

Write to [email protected] if you wish to have a private tour, or a proxy shopping service, to help you get your favourite and most desired piece of jade.

 

Did you know...

 

1) A taxi driver in Burma purchased a jade stone for which he paid 23 USD. He sold this jade to a dealer for 5000 USD who resold it to a customer for 23000 USD. This goes to prove that it is indeed difficult to ascertain the value of jade.

2) To confirm if a jade is genuine, it is generally struck with hammer. Original jade will rebound the equipment that hits it.

3) Jade is very antique as it is anywhere between 141 to 570 million years old. Hence, the value of jade keeps increasing.

4) Jade was the most revered gemstones by Chinese. They worshipped Jade and considered that it is the symbol representing five virtues namely compassion, wisdom, justice, courage and modesty. The symbols that represent these virtues are carved into jade in China.

5) Jade is considered to possess curative properties. The stone is considered to strengthen heart, kidneys, immune system and nervous system.

6) Though jade is primarily seen in green color, the stone is available in other colors as well. It is believed that all types of jades aid in protecting children against illnesses. Each color is associated with certain health benefits. Green jade calms the mind and promotes peace and harmony. Blue jade helps to deal with emotional issues. Black jade strengthens one’s mind. White jade relaxes the mind and aides in decision-making. Lavender jade is associated with creativity. Brown jade improves adaptability. Orange and pink jades help in developing skepticism about health. Red jade relieves one off stress and tension.

7) Jade is considered to attract love. Chinese wear jade to attract love. It is believed that green jade should be placed under pillow if a person wants to experience very clear dreams. It is further said that a lavender jade should be placed along with the green jade to understand the meaning of dreams.

8) Jades are strong and hence are carved into exquisite and unique designs. Some of the intricate designs carved off jade stones include dragons, landscapes, horses and jewelry. Today the high-end quality fashion designers use Myanmar jadeite because this material has the best colors, textures, and the overall appearance is just better than the other.

9) Myanmar has the largest jade boulder in the world. It weighs around 3000 tonnes. As far as jade carvings are concerned, many countries claim to have the largest jade carving. Beijing has a jade carving of twenty feet long ship. In a temple in China, a jade carving depicts Buddha is eight meters tall and it weighs 260 tonnes.

10) Jade was believed to be a protection against one’s foes. When people traveled long distances, they wore jade as they considered that it would protect them from possible hazards during their journey.